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Best filter media types for Penn Plax Cascade and Cascade Elite Canisters

Both the Penn Plax Cascade and Penn Plax Cascade Elite Canister Filters come with several media types. There are also option medias you can purchase. This guide will help you determine the best filter media media types you can add to your Cascade and Cascade Elite Canisters.

Included with Penn Plax Cascade Filter

If you bought a brand new Penn Plax Cascade 500, 700, 1000, 1200 or 1500, then you should get most of the filter medias you need to get started. The following should be packed inside the new canisters when you open the sealed package:

  • Penn Plax Cascade Bio-Floss
  • Penn Plax Cascade Bio Sponge
  • Penn Plax Pro-Carb-Z Filt-A-Pack

Included with Penn Plax Cascade Elite Filter

A brand new Penn Plax Cascade Elite 500, 700, 1000, 1200 or 1500 comes with a lot more filter medias when compared to the standard Cascade. You get everything from the standard edition along with replacements. Not to mention that you will also get biological rings. You can take a look at the full list below:

  • Penn Plax Cascade Bio-Floss
  • Penn Plax Cascade Bio Sponge
  • Penn Plax Pro-Carb-Z Filt-A-Pack
  • Penn Plax Bio-Rings Filt-A-Pack
  • Extra Penn Plax Cascade Bio-Floss
  • Extra Penn Plax Cascade Bio Sponge
  • Extra Penn Plax Pro-Carb-Z Filt-A-Pack

Best Mechanical Media: Penn Plax Cascade Bio-Floss

When it comes to mechanical filtration, the best media type is the Penn Plax Cascade Bio-Floss. The floss is designed to trapped extra small particles from the water in your fish tank. As a result, your aquarium will look visibly clean and clear of debris.

We suggest placing the Bio-Floss at the bottom-most media basket of your canister filter. This is because the bottom-most basket is the first one that incoming water from your fish tank will be passing through from inside the canister. By having the floss there, you will be able to prevent fish wastes and other gunk from dirtying your biological and/or chemical filtration.

Pen Plax recommend replacing the Bio-Floss every two or three months. We suggest replacing them sooner if you notice your water flow of your Cascade or Cascade Elite filter slowing down due to the clogged up floss.

If you need replacements, you can purchase some from Amazon with the following link:

Best Biological Media: Penn Plax Bio-Rings Filt-A-Pack

The best biological filtration for the Penn Plax Cascade series is the Penn Plax Bio-Rings Filt-A-Pack. The ceramic rings are filled with pores, which provides a bunch of surface area for beneficial bacteria. These bacteria colonies will remove ammonia and nitrites, both of which are very toxic to your pet fish, from your tank water.

You should put the Bio-Rings Filt-A-Pack on either of the middle baskets or top-most media basket. Ideally, you don’t want the rings to get too dirty as it could block off oxygen that is needed for your beneficial bacteria. So you should place this biological type right after your mechanical filtration.

You shouldn’t have to replace your bio-rings unless they start to break into piece. If the medias get dirty, you can simply rinse off the wastes, preferably using tank water you are planning to throw away.

While the Cascade Elite comes with the Penn Plax Bio-Rings Filt-A-Pack, the regular Cascade version does not. If you need some, you can purchase this media type on Amazon with the following link:

Best Biological and Mechanical Media: Penn Plax Cascade Bio Sponge

The Penn Plax Cascade Bio Sponge is an extremely versatile media type as it can provide both biological and mechanical filtration. The sponge provides plenty of surface area for the aforementioned beneficial bacteria to grow. As the same time, this media will also help trap particles from your aquarium water.

Although it may not be as efficient as the Penn Plax Cascade Bio-Floss in terms of mechanical filtration, the Penn Plax Cascade Bio Sponge makes up for its inefficiency by being more longer lasting. You shouldn’t have to replace the sponge unless it starts to break into pieces. A simple rinse to get rid of the accumulated waste should be enough to keep the sponge optimized for biological and mechanical filtration.

The Bio Sponge should be placed on the bottom most basket to prevent your biological and chemical medias from getting dirty.

If you need more of this product, you can purchase it on Amazon with the following link:

Best Media for Removing Odors, Discolorations, Medicines and Heavy Metals: Penn Plax Pro-Carb Filt-A-Pack

A good all around chemical filtration media for the Cascade and Cascade Elite is the Pro-Carb Filt-A-Pack. The microscopic pores of the activated carbon will remove odors, discolorations, medicines, heavy metals and other contaminants from your fish tank.

We recommend putting your chemical filtration in either middle baskets or top-most media basket, above the mechanical filtration. Doing so will prevent the activated carbon from getting clogged with fish wastes and other debris.

Penn Plax recommends replacing the Pro-Carb every 4 to 6 weeks. We suggest replacing the carbon sooner if you noticed the odor from your fish tank growing stronger, the water getting more discolored and/or any other rising presences of unwanted contaminants.

If you need more of the activated carbon, you can purchase some with the following link:

Best Media for Removing Ammonia: Penn Plax Pro-Z Filt-A-Pack

If you want to remove ammonia from your aquarium, then you should consider getting the Pro-Z Filt-A-Pack. This filter media type is made of zeolite crystals, which will help get rid of toxic compound.

The Pro-Z Filt-A-Pack should be placed in either the middle baskets or top-most baskets as the crystals getting clogged with wastes will reduce their effectiveness.

Penn Plax suggests that you replace the zeolite crystals every 4 to 6 weeks. Of course, you can also do so sooner if you notice the ammonia level in your tank rising.

You can purchase the pack with the following link:

Best Chemical Media: Penn Plax Pro-Carb-Z Filt-A-Pack

The best chemical filtration is the Penn Plax Pro-Carb-Z Filt-A-Pack as it combines activated carbon (which is going to remove odors, discolorations, medicines, heavy metals and other contaminants) and zeolite crystals (which is going to remove ammonia).

The Pro-Carb-Z Filt-A-Pack should be placed in either the middle baskets of the top basket so that your mechanical filtration will prevent any wastes from getting to your chemical filtration.

Penn Plax recommend replacing the Pro-Carb-Z Filt-A-Pack every 4 to 6 weeks. You may replace the pack sooner if you notice that the filter media may be losing its effectiveness.

You can purchase the combo pack with the following link:

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